The number of hospital-acquired surgical, IV, and urinary tract infections has declined in recent years, but remains high at most individual hospitals, with the vast majority showing no improvement in reducing rates since 2008, according to a new report based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records.
The authors of the report — released by Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports magazine — say the figures spotlight the need for hospitals to do more to target secondary infections.
Nationally, about 10 percent of hospitals reported zero infections in every category covered in the report. But more work needs to be done for every hospital to reach that goal to protect patients, they said.
“There’s been a concerted push in recent years to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections in ICUs and those efforts are clearly beginning to pay off,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project.
“We need to bring the same focus and energy to preventing all types of infections with the ultimate goal of eliminating them. A small percentage of hospitals have been able to attain zero infections, showing that it can be done. Unfortunately, most hospitals have not shown statistically significant improvement since five years ago.”
According to the report, CDC figures show the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections in hospitals nationwide has been reduced markedly over the past three years. Modest reductions were also reported in some surgical site infections and urinary tract infections in that time.
By while infections have decreased overall, most individual hospitals have not demonstrated a “statistically significant” improvement since 2008.
Nearly 100,000 people die each year from hospital-acquired infections and the hospital costs associated with these infections are estimated to be as high as $45 billion annually, the CDC estimates.
Among the report’s findings:
- Hospitals reported 41 percent fewer central line-associated bloodstream infections in 2011 compared to 2008. But only 22 percent reported a significant decrease in that time.
- Hospitals reported 17 percent fewer surgical site infections in 2011 compared to 2008. In seven of nine types of surgical site infections reported in 2011, at least 25 percent of hospitals reported zero infections, but only 12 percent reported a significant decrease.
- Hospitals reported 7 percent fewer catheter-associated urinary tract infections in 2011 compared to 2009. Most of this reduction was achieved in hospital wards, which showed a significant reduction of 15 percent since 2009. Only 13 percent reported a significant decrease.
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